tv Charlie Rose WHUT April 20, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EDT
>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. tonight, rahm emanuel for the hour. the chief of staff to the president of the united states. why did barack obama want you? >> i think i'm the fundamental core. he had a robust legislative agenda and knew i had been on both sides of pennsylvania avenue. second, he knew i was going to always have his back as his chief of staff. and that i will go through walls to help get what the president wants done. and somebody that had been in politics as both a member of congress but also been in the white house and know it is kind of rhythm of the white house. and fundamentally that i was going to be loyal to him and give him unvarnished assessment of what i think the tradeoffs and the i can wetys that you're constantly waiting. remember, in the white house,
charlie, as i always describe it there are only two types of decisions: bad and worse and immediate and emergency. and that's the grid they're on. >> rose: rahm emanuel for the hour. next. >> rose: white house chief of staff rahm emanuel is here. he is considered one of the most influential chiefs of staff in a generation. he has been call misdemeanor things, including the enforcer, the chief, a virtual prime minister to obama's dick cheney.
his larger-than-life personality is well-known in washington he want served the clinton administration and then was a powerful member of congress. one friend said about him "if you could sum up rahm emanuel it would be big ideas, big mouth, big heart, little finger." rahm emanuel meets with president obama at the beginning and end of each day and spends lots of time in the oval office. his influence is felt in both the domestic and foreign policy. this week, president obama begins a major push to overall the country's financial regulations. he will speak in new york on thursday. senate democrats plan to bring their bill to the floor later this week. i am pleased to have rahm emanuel back at this table. financial reform. you'll get republican votes? >> yes. i think it will be bipartisan. because i think people realize, charlie, that while it's been 14 months, 12 months and there are still damages from that crisis that you have a financial system over the last 20 years that raced ahead of where the regulatory system was. and it's our responsibility to
get that regulatory system in place to deal with where the market went. one example of that is derivatives. you have a multitrillion dollar section of the financial marketplace without a regulatory agency body that oversees it. the goal, take it from the shadows, bring sunshine to it, transparency, and standardization. if we do that, we'll have done something significant. i mean, warren buffett, who you've had on this show, has talked about derivatives as kind of the equivalent of a nuclear bomb in if financial sector. there's no entity that's responsible for regulating it or bringing a level of standardization and transparency. that's what this reform is about. i think it's thursday the president is going to be up in new york to give a speech at cooper union where he, in march of 2008, had given a speech on the necessity and... of the necessity of the financial reform, but why you need to do it and what it needs to look
like. and it was as important then as it is today and i'm confident that people will see the necessity to pass the legislation. >> rose: and you will have bipartisan support even though you didn't have in the committee? >> yes. the committee... senator dodd, as i understand it, offered the republican it is opportunity to have amendments. they said they didn't want to, they were going to reserve that right to do it on the floor so they passed it out in voice vote in 15 minutes. but there were a lot of discussions, a lot of good discussions have happened. now you know senator shelby at one point was negotiating with senator dodd then senator corker. but i'm confident we'll have bipartisan support because i think republicans realize that the regulatory structure that we have today is not up to the task of where the market is. and the economy needs that if we're going to have the type of foundation the president talked about to have a sustainable growth in our economy, to have the right type of regulatory oversight as well as transparency that is so
essential to so people know our markets are important. and let me say one thing: this is important for america's leadership in the world. we lead in the financial sector. it's one of these parts in the economy we lead. but if people don't trust our market, we can't maintain that leadership. that's why this regulatory reform is not against wall street, it's fundamentally in the interest of the economy. wall street, though, has advanced beyond regulatory supervision and we need to catch up in a way that ensures we don't have the crisis we had in the past and we're prepared for fure ones. >> rose: banks have been lobbying hard against derivatives. >> yes, they have. >> rose: republicans have been up here raising money and talking about it. accusing the president of playing politics. conventional wisdom says the tough herself things are derivatives and consumer agency inside the federal reserve. >> that's two of them. but without a doubt those are in the top three or four issues. but here's... i don't want to
have to just repeat what i said about the derivatives, but i take fit you look at this, this is an area that just a few years ago was a minor part of the market and when i say a few, the last ten years, it has exploded in scope scale and size. and yet nobody knows what's going on. it happens in the shadows of the financial industry in sectors. it is unhealthy to not bring that on to some platform with some standardization and some transparency. even people in the industry believe that should happen. now there's the devil's in the details, people want to protect the privacy of end users. but bringing that transparency, bringing that standardization is essential to not just the past but to ensure that we don't have the type of crisis in the future. the consumer office is also a big deal. but the banks have decided to fight these two. i think it's in their interest to make sure that this legislation is comprehensive in both those places.
>> rose: so what's the impact of the s.e.c.'s complaint against goldman sachs on financial reform and what argument are you making? >> well, it's essential to make one point. one is, it's an independent agency, acted independent. had no knowledge of what they had done. third, it's out there. i believed, as the president did in march 2008, we needed financial regulatory reform. everybody saw the implications of how the financial system when it went off tracks took the economy with it. you need to get those reforms today regardless. >> rose: how was it that the "new york times" knew about this before goldman sachs did? the filing of the complaint? >> i have no idea. >> rose: and it soon thereafter there was literally within a... an hour or so the white house was... in terms of information coming from the white house. >> i can tell you, everybody at the white house found out like everybody else-- when it hit the news. >> rose: when it hit the "new york times?" >> when it hit the news it is... the s.e.c. is an independent agency. operates independently.
nobody at the white house knew anything ahead of anybody else. >> rose: and what does it say to wall street? >> well, i think you've got to the ask people on wall street what it says. the s.e.c. moved. it conducted their investigation. they brought this there. i think that goldman will obviously make their counter. but i think what's more important is not this particular case or what s.e.c. did. the need for this reform has existed for over a year. >> rose: but does the goldman sachs complaint make the case for reform easier? >> does it make it easier? look, the same forces that were opposed to it are still opposed to it. they're the same forces that have been hiring people to try to prevent the legislation or weaken parts of it are still going to do that. i believe that we're going get this legislation done because i think people realize that not doing it is worse and as s bad for the economy and bad for america's leadership and bad for
making sure that we prevent future crises. you know, i can't judge everybody, how they're going to act in the senate. i'm confident, as i was last time we talked, we will get financial reform because people... the time from the last crisis is not so far back in the rear-view mirror people can't remember the consequences. >> rose: all right. let me move to health care. what's the significance of passing it? >> there's multiple significance let me start from the particular. for individuals... i mean, look today. united health announced-- the insurance company-- they're going to allow kids up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents' insurance policy. so they get coverage. a lot of kids coming out of college or going on to work don't have health care but now they're going to be able to stay on their parents'. that was one of the insurance reforms. united health decided to get ahead of it. it's coming online a couple months from now. they decided to do it early.
that's a deliverable for people. so it's a particular. senior this is year will get a $250 so they can buy... who kind of have used up as part of the prescription benefit, they'll get another $250 so they can buy in that doughnut hole where the gap exists in coverage. three, there will be other parts of insurance reform so insurance companies can not discriminate on pre-existing conditions. those reforms will kick in. then on the meta, two issues i would also explore, what it means. you actually have the first real reform of medicare. so we can control costs. i've always somewhat described this as entitlement reform in a health care box. and lastly, it says to the world which it was quite clear the other day when 52 leaders from around the world showed up for the nuclear terrorism conference that a superpower like the united states can once again do big things. >> rose: it would change the perception... health care changed the perception of the
president around the world? >> oh, there's no... yeah. that's not the reason you do health care. you did health care so we can control costs, change the incentives in the health care system, expand coverage, give people choice in the system. there was a residual benefit or an extra benefit in addition that no doubt showed the president has the capacity, given how much political capital he spent in it, that he also on the international arena people saw that the power that came to that because of the success. and every success begets another success. which is what happened with also the reform of the higher education system that was part of that legislation and it's given a forward momentum now to also deal with financial reform. >> rose: but you also went there before you had everybody come to washington, you also went to russia, to prague, to sign... >> the stark treaty. >> rose: and they took notice of health care's success. >> well, yeah... >> rose: and their perception of barack obama as a leader? >> there's no doubt about it. america's leadership around the world has, without a doubt, been
restored. a lot of leaders had noted to the president it's nice to have america back in that place of world leadership. he set out the goal of reducing our nuclear arms arsenal, doing in the a way that was responsible to protect america. we reached a comprehensive treaty with the russians. it also gave us momentum to bring... we had more world leaders... we had the most amount of world leaders here in the united states since the u.n. was first chartered in 1947 in san francisco. there is that benefit that's not... it's an additional benefit, the core issue which is what drove the president to put so much political capital was to finally get health care costs under control and provide people coverage and also type of insurance reforms that had not existed before. >> rose: what are the lessons you've learned? because people argue you lost your narrative, you lost your message. >> we should have done, this should have done that. there's a lot of analysis, there's a lot to learn even in
successes. you learn mainly sometimes from failure but there's a lot to learn from successes. every president has tried to do universal health care because of the complexity. i mean, president obama's a very good communicator. president clinton's a very good communicator. given the complexity, both of them-- one succeeded, the other didn't-- but at some point in that process of trying to pass it lost control of quote/unquote the narrative. and that tells you how complex it is. it also tells you the amount of courage and commitment and fortitude and strength the president had to see this through in working with the partners in congress to get things done. that said, there were choices made that were the right thing for getting it done and i think people will see that while the process was quote/unquote... they didn't like it from a viewing standpoint the product is incredibly successful product in achieving the goal of controlling costs which is one of the president's core objectives. and i think other thing is also... you take away certain
lessons about how you want to work with congress, how you want to keep a dialogue with the american people and carry them through a process and a story and also of the role of the president and what he can do in shaping opinion and making a connection with the americans. all that comes into play as we work through other issues. >> rose: and was there a crucial moment in the oval office where the president said "i hear different people saying let's take a half loaf, let's go piecemeal, we'll do it a little and make sure we get it. was there a moment in which the president said stop this talk, we're going for the whole thing, we're going for the vote and this is it and we'll live or die by the results. a moment? >> a moment, no, because there's not... there's a series of conversations. but as you know, charlie, i advocated to the president at some point i said, you know, you've got to... which is what he wants out of a chief of staff. look at all your options. what you have to do, what you're
trying to do. what are the other things that you're also trying to get done. and that says something about him that he wants a diversity of opinion. he looked at that but knows that if we didn't do it now this opportunity will never come again. and he was willing to put as much political capital as it took to see it through from beginning to end. it says something about his character, his fortitude, his determination. you could have done something different, gotten some of the accomplishment but not all of it. but he meant to get and lay a foundation. what does that mean? getting medicare costs under control? getting health care reforms so you have incentives where you pay for quality not quantity? giving people who don't have access to the system coverage? giving people who were being basically held hostage by insurance company it is opportunities just like i told you united health now for the first time will enable young kids to stay on their parents' plans until the age of 26. that comprehensive reform had
been tried before. people had done different things. backed up to do medicare, whatever. it says something about him. he wanted, a, abhonest assessment. b, he took all that in and said this is the once in a lifetime we have. if we don't do it now we can't ever come back. and it says something about his character and his strength and determination to see something through from beginning to end. >> rose: so when you look back on the process, what would be your own personal criticism of where we went wrong or where we went right? >> were we... look, first of all we succeeded. >> rose: you did. absolutely. >> so there's a lot of roads. a lot of bends in the road. >> rose: but you learns from success as well as failures. >> and we also had great partners in speaker pelosi, senate majority leader harry reid and the committee chairman. i think there are some things you could say you want to do different. you contrast, as i have, between 94 and here.
there are certain things that were done differently. i personally... unlike '94. in '94, senator chafee, the republican from rhode island, had 32 republicans on the bill. that matched almost president clinton's at that time and the big debate was between an individual mandate versus an employer mandate. the irony of today-- to give you by example-- senator chafee had an individual mandate. the democrats had an employer mandate. there was no compromise. this bill, the that president obama just passed has the individual mandate which was the cornerstone of senator chafee's bill and the lawsuit that the remembers are talking about today is about what divided people in '94 in which the republicans had proposed. we made certain things right. the president's speech to the joint session happened towards the end rather than clinton at the beginning. >> rose: state of the union. >> we brought certain constituency groups in from doctors, nurses, the a.a.r.p. as well as other providers in to be part of the process.
is the president met with them early on in the roosevelt room. to be part of this reform process. that had not happened in '94. also, the bipartisan meeting at the blair house the that the president organized was modeled after the successful one president clinton did on welfare reform. those are some of the things we learned. we also gave congress a bigger role to play inen this this than in '94. and at the end of the day, for all the things that people would say about the blemishes was the right thing to do because at the end of the day it proved in their buy-in with success was important to success. >> tell me what you think has happened politically in the country which n which health care became a rallying cry for the tea party and other people who oppose the administration? >> well, there is a bigger debate going on. health care... you can't just take it away from... >> rose: it these do with government and the role of government. >> but it these do with what's going on in people's lives. charlie, you shouldn't forget this. in the last eight years, prior to president obama's election,
if median household income in this country declined by $2,200. we haven't had a decade like that. $2,500. second of all, median household du d declined, price package and income packages for people working in financial sectors and income sectors and c.e.o.s grew exponentially. there was a real division. and yet when this crisis came, where they saw their government had failed, the financial industry in its role had failed, both had failed, leaders elected to do something either in the corporate side ngor the regulatory side had not matched up, they were asked even though they saw their incomes drop, they were asked to bail out the financial sector and yet they were under tougher economic times. and the president did, early on, the right things it took to stabilize the financial industry to put the economy on the right recovery, to stabilize the auto industry. all things that weren't popular.
and then you had health care on top of that. and people's own sense was... and because the benefits of it are... well, the debate was on the economy, it hadn't yet recovered, the benefits of health care kind of start to come online now. and so for the american people, they had seen a government that had not lived up to its task, it was a philosophy of no regulation so therefore there was no oversight of what was going on, had failed to monitore financial sector as a whole. leaders in wall street had acted with a certain sense and performed that didn't live up to their responsibilities. >> rose: so do you see this as simply that the president heard a whole bunch of problems... >> well, he did. (laughs) >> rose: i agree. >> a set of problems and policies that led to those problems. >> rose: and had to do the emergency that was necessary and therefore a perception of time developed in his administration develop sod that people were
hurting and they look for someone to blame and they said it's this administration rather than a previous administration? >> no. i mean, they have... they don't hold the previous administration harmless in what they think happened and choosing the policies between the two administrations, they clearly would choose the direction we're on. but health care came at an end of... or in the middle of a series of actions that we had to take to resolving the set of crises, be they both financial and economic, and that involves a debate about the role of government. now, that debate has been going on since day one. >> rose: yes. >> the accusation about president obama, pretty similar to what they called... they called roosevelt a socialist. they said that president kennedy was threatening america. they tried to delegitimize president clinton. all in periods of time of great economic anxiety. those charges aren't new. the role of government. that's why the debate about health care in a bizarre way
is... on the public option-- and there was a debate and i understand why democrats wanted it-- was in a period of time that people had skepticism of government. and that's a hard thick to basically manage your way through. but remember... you can go farther but but just to use roosevelt, kennedy and president clinton, all these people faced similar accusations about their policies because it's an interpretation about the proper role of government. let me make one last other point charlie, if i can. there are two debates going on within both parties. it used to be a debate between republicans who believed in small government and democrats who believed in big government. that was how the debate got framed even though that really didn't capture it all. the republicans have a descending wing as the small government wing. a lot of those senators have retired or leaders have retired. the ascending wing, a lot of people in their party don't believe there's a role for government. when it dime the financial scandal, would have let it go. they don't see a role for government in solving some of the problems.
in our party, we have a debate between those who believe in big government, still have people that believe in that, and probably what i would describe president obama's view is effective government, not big or small, whether it does its job and does its job well. and that is a debate about government that's happening within both parties at this point. and one is on the ascend and one is on the decline in both parties. >> rose: in the democratic party that gave him the nomination, where do you think they were what they expected of him on the role of government? >> well, i don't think they... i don't think they went into the voting booth or decided to mail in their ballot with his vision of the role of government. they went in with his sense of who he was as a leader, a set of policies that he brought to the table and what he wanted to do to change the policies that george bush had put in place and what the consequences of those policies, whether that was on the financial scandal, the financial healthdown, the
economic recession, or the fiscal crisis and also around the world, the position america was having. remember, you inherited-- because of a set of policies and decisions made-- a great deal of economic... economy that was in deep recession, the worst since the great depression. a financial meltdown where the financial sector was... basically on its belly. a fiscal condition of the country that was probably the worst it's ever been. two hot wars going on, one in iraq and afghanistan. and a diminution of america's power that you hadn't seen in a long time. now, i think america is restored its place in the world as seen last week and its authority in the world as seen by how russia and china now have agreed work with us within the united nations. the start treaty that's negotiated with the russians. the ability of america america to put an issue on the table where 52 world leaders came to work with the united states in
its leadership role on nuclear terrorism. we have stabilized the financial sector so it can lend gone the economy. we've reversed the job loss that is happening and we're putting our fiscal house in order and we're just in the beginning of each of those in turning the sections around but nobody should underestimate the situation the country was in just 14 months ago. >> and your argument is that we had to do everything we tried to do because you're never more popular than the moment you're elected and that's the time to use your political currency? >> well, the president's view and one i 100% agree that you have a moment in time to put in place what you think is important to do. he didn't want to have a presidency that rested on a lead and... or a majority or a popularity, for a better way of putting it. and he was willing to spend his political capital to get something done. as was shown not only in the
health care... let's just take the auto industry. that wasn't a popular decision. not one he wanted to do, charlie. but he got a set of concessions out of general motors, its suppliers and labor and its bankers that that people only dreamed of. we did that last year. the public was not happy about it. if it was up to them they would have seen general motors gone. the president made a decision with his economic team that wasn't good for the country. this week they're going to pay back their debt and we believe they're going to... and they're going to file for an i.p.o. and we think over a period of time we're going to get every penny back and people have their jobs to boot. >> rose: and some of the rescue money will make a profit for the government. >> and those with tough decisions. you would don't them based on popularity but they were good for the country. >> rose: help us all once you think the mt.'s political philosophy is. >> he is a pragmatist. he is not wedded to a sill fofk
or ideological bent. he says government as a tool for an affirmative force by mainly setting the rules and letting the private sector operate within those rules. that would be how you see the financial sector. without proper regulation, without proper oversight and without appointing good people, a marketplace can't work. not to dominate, not to control, set the rules of the road and let people operate within that. i see him fundamentally as a pragmatist. i don't think it's one that's ideological in the sense of left center, or right. he has adopted ideas that are... and policies from republicans. his question isn't about left or right, it's whether it moves us forward or not. no other... i don't think a republican president would have done what the president did in
demanding changes he demanded from the auto industry in the sense of a workout. >> rose: you needed the unions to be involved. >> you needed the unions to agree to certain concessions. would you call that left, right, no? i'd say he made a decision about what's good for the country. >> rose: where do you think this perception in the country came from that is fueling the tea party? is it just that? that he did these things? because george bush did some of the same things. >> no. >> rose: well, in terms of the bailouts. >> but a classic example. let's just take auto industry. the president demanded concessions if they're going to get money. george bush wrote a $20 billion check with no concessions. there was a fundamental difference. there's a fundamental difference. on health care president obama said everybody has hells care, there's emergency rooms. president clinton said that's not good enough. and it's borrowed a set of ideas. let me just walk through this because i think this is... it's a sense of philosophy. the idea of the med pack with authority as it relates to medicare and medicaid was an idea proposed by the republicans
in 1997, dropped in the balance budget agreement, required by this president. and trust me, a lot of people didn't want to do it. demand it otherwise there wouldn't be a bill. the exchange, the notion came out of mitt romney's health care legislation in massachusetts. the idea of the individual mandate was the idea first proposed by republicans going back to senator chafee in the 1994 bill. the idea of these kind of game changers, paying for quality rather than quantity. it doesn't have a philosophical bent but it's something republicans did. that to me is one of the great ironies of this debate and it will be somethingly mentally debate among myself, how that happened. but the core ideas that made up this health care bill, because it's based on this system we have today. how that got described as socialist when the core ideas were all ideas advance bid republicans over the last 20 years. >> rose: how deep do you think the anger is in the country?
>> well, i think it's deep because i think that there's a lot of fact thoors go into that, charlie. principally on the areas of the economic anxiety that's out there and... we're in the middle of a severe economic transition. >> rose: can anyone make an argument... you've just focused on the economy. would we have a better economy snowed. >> i don't think we'd have a better... >> rose: and less unemployment? >> if there's a bit to the recovery right now or turnaround i don't think it would be in a stronger position and the president's reason for doing health care reform, access to higher education and all the changes, the financial reform of wall street that we're talking about now and then energy were all part of a speech he gave on a new foundation. >> rose: at georgetown. >> right. and so that question he said and the goal he set out was we can
go from every bubble you want to every bust you want. or we can lay a new foundation down that has a level of economy where you're not on health care spotting the opposition a trillion dollars of overexpense. we don't have doubts about the market place and the way it works in the financial system. we don't have an education system that prices out the middle-class from the american dream. and we don't have an energy policy that keeping our dependence on the middle east and we don't create a new industry here of green technology and green jobs. those are the challenges that he's met head on and i believe when this year is up you'll see he's made progress on all four of them. >> rose: democratic party in trouble in the election coming up? >> it's got challenges. but... >> rose: will it lose the congress? >> anybody that tells you that doesn't know what they're talking about because you couldn't answer that at this time, in plil. when i was chair of the d.c.c.c. i couldn't have said that.
>> rose: unemployment is at 9.5% or 10%? >> i think key factor-- while unemployment is important-- is about what people think about the economic future. if they think the economy and the future is getting better and we make this a choice about what led into the... led us into the worgs recession and the policy choice wes made to lead us out of it, i think we have a chance of turning this election around. >> rose: and can he turn the anger around? >> there's legitimate reasons for the anger out there. nobody should kind of look at it and... there's a... when the middle-class in this country has seen their incomes lost and their costs of living go up and the sense of those who were at the top act with the sense ofer snoont laid us through worst economic crisis and yet it is the hard-working middle-class that are required to bail it out, there's a reason for that frustration and it's totally legit and if anybody thinks it's being pumped up, they don't get it. they don't understand that type of anger.
>> rose: you've got to be listening to the people. >> you have. it's a representative democracy. they have to be heard, too. they shouldn't be dismissed. that there's a legitimacy there. that doesn't take elected leaders off the hook when you have that role of leadership you have a responsibility to make sure that we have a proper debate and don't encourage that anger to drift off into something that's ugly, as we saw on this 15-year anniversary in oklahoma. everybody in elected position regardless of party has a responsibility. now, there's a legitimacy to people's frustrations, legitimacy to people's anger but those who are in elected office or in public office regardless of party and regardless of position have a responsibility to let disagreements flourish and let them go without letting that disagreement become something and touch something on the darker side. >> rose: let me turn to foreign policy. >> everybody's accountable. >> rose: everybody. >> everybody. including the media.
>> rose: and how do you think the media's done? >> how much time we got here? >> rose: are you angry about the media? do they fuel the fire, whether it's talk radio on the one hand or... >> charlie, i don't think the media is monolith i can so i couldn't have a conversation that says "the media." it's not a monolithic thing. i think's a level of... i think sometimes the media doesn't act with the full responsibility that comes with the position. so that's just dhash's a different show, different time, different talk. on the other hand, a lot of individuals try to do a good job. but i don't think all the time given what's out there they are really telling you the whole truth or giving you a sense. they have a... they play a role in exacerbating the sense that america's pulled apart and it's not as pulled apart as being reported. >> rose: do you think rush limbaugh or glenn beck are part of the process of pulling them apart? >> i wouldn't limit it to them but i think they play their role.
they have their differences. that's clear and that's okay. but they do play a role in exacerbating tensions. and that could be also said about some on the left. but there's no doubt they do. >> rose: okay. foreign policy. you mentioned iran and you mentioned china and russia. what are they on board for in terms of sanctions? what are they saying they're prepared to do? >> i know you would like to break the news on this show. >> rose: very much. >> i'm not going to do that for you. >> rose: but are you really getting a serious look from the chinese who are saying we understand this is important and we are prepared to be on board to a certain degree. is that the message? >> ambassador rice is working through the issues right now with, as they've all part of the p 5 plus one, they're all working on the sanctions and on the document in the united nations at this point. i'm not going to... you know, those are sensitive discussions and negotiations are going on and we feel confident that we're going to have a real credible
level of sanctions... >> rose: that will get through the security council? and >> and more importantly than just that because tz p-5 plus one made an offer to iran with the uranium. they have a choice. iran's at a cross roads. they can set sanctions or they can deal with what has been offered them. and they have a choice. and we we got into post office, iran was in a... the international community was divided. 're was sitting among... in the middle east as kind of a power on the role. and the world has become united. it has its level of resolve and determination to seek through that iran was not... does not get a nuclear weapon. and it also has iran, i think in the last year, you probably have done a number of shows on this, charlie, it's not the country it was a year ago and not perceived as it was a year ago. it's divided among itself. where the world community was... >> rose: but can you fashion sanctions that... >> that will be the key.
tough sanctions. >> rose: against the revolutionary guard or against... >> that deal with the iranian regime and doesn't target the people. but it's a clear sense that the pressure... than the iranian regime has to make a choice about whether they want to face tougher sanctions, comprehensive and tough sanctions. that's our goal and that is our commitment to get it done. >> rose: and you believe that sanctions can stop them? >> obviously we're going to pursue them and that will be an important piece of it. >> rose: and why go ahead and not get europeans and others who might not be prepared to agree with you and start sanctions now and not necessarily wait to take it through skoun still >> because the u.n. is a part of... where you lay a foundation for the sanctions and that's the process where we have with the russians, chinese participation, with also the germans, the british, the french, the united states all working in unison to develop that resolution. >> rose: and what do you make a secretary gates' memo that was on the front page of the "new york times?" >> i think you also look at what
secretary gates said this morning. that memo was mischaracterized and it's part of any orderly process in the sense of developing policy. >> rose: it was not meant as a wakeup dual the administration to say, look, we are too far down the road and we do not have a strategy? it was not meant to do that? >> i have nothing more on the-to-say than what secretary gates said today in the paper and he couldn't have been clearer, that that was not the characterization. it was not what was written in there. it was not the characterization or the sense of it and the person that was reporting that to the "new york times" obviously didn't understand what what that memo was about. and my view is, as secretary gates said unambiguously today in the paper, they got it wrong. >> rose: is it fair to say the administration was upset about that characterization? >> it's fair to say the administration thought the story was wrong. >> what's the relationship between the united states and israel beyond what you always say, which is if we have the same values, we are very much support the state of israel and
we very much are committed to the security of the state of israel? >> everybody in the region, it's important to know, it's important for the israeli public to know, americans to know, our bond with israel is unshakable and unbreakable. both as it relates to security, as it relates to the common set of value, and also as a common set... a common strategic vision because the threats to israel are similar to some of the threats the united states faced. so i wouldn't skip that. >> rose: okay. fair enough. >> two, the relationship is solid. it is a solid relationship. and it goes beyond just what i just said in the sense that we have a real working relationship and a sense of partnership. >> rose: it may be solid but there are people in... a lot of people are saying it's a troubling time between the united states and israel and even the defense minister said that yesterday. >> well, i think... >> rose: of israel. >> well, first of all, the defense minister also has said a
lot of the friendship with the united states and the cooperation as it deals with israel's strategic challenges and we will be there for israel on its strategic challenges, be they dealing with, obviously, iran in a sense of understanding that challenge, as it deals with making sure it has a credible deterrent threat and also as the united states has been clear, that whether it's on the deterrent side of the threat in dealing with israel's security to also dealing with making sure that it's able to take the courageous steps it needs to take to make peace. and we will be its partner and by its side every step that it takes for that courageous stone make piece. >> rose: is it time for the united states to not only do all that you have said... just said and repeated, but also to lay out its own approach from where they think the negotiations should go? >> yeah, i think first of all... >> is it time for this administration to step forward with its own plan? >> a number of people have advocated that as you know and i
know, charlie. that time is not now. the time now is to get back to the proximity talks, have those conversations that eventually would lead to direct negotiations to start to make the hard decisions to bring a balance between the aspirations of the israelis for security and make that blend with the aspirations of the palestinian people for their sovereignty. people understand the basic contours of that. we have got to get back to the table to negotiate on bringing a... those two aspirations in balance. they can be done. it will take courageous leadership by all the parties. the president has said that we can't want this more than the parties. but we can help create an atmosphere and environment to help those talks be... >> rose: you and i have talked about this many times. there's also the argument that the united states is now talking in a different tone about how the absence of a palestinian
agreement and the creation of a palestinian state is in some way... hurts america's interest in the middle east. >> other presidents and other administrations have always described the peace process in israel's security interests, the national security interests, in the interests of the palestinian people and also the interest of the united states. that's not new. that's why... >> rose: but it seems to me that the administration based on the interpretation has put a new twist on it. >> no. it hasn't. >> rose: okay. so nothing has changed... >> no. >> rose: in terms of how we perceive the absence of... >> no. i mean, i've been... i've been in the white house that has dealt with prime ministers from rabin, ehud barak, shimon peres, bibinetanyahu. i've been a member of congress with prime minister olmert and prime minister sharon. every president in our
administration has described an agreement or peace process in america's interest but primarily it's whether it's in yidz's interest. it's not in olmert who you just quoted, that without... ehud barak it's not in israel's strategic interest because on demographics and technologically the status quo is not sustainable. therefore you're going to have to seize the moment because of where israel is, where the parties are, and the palestinian authority, this is an opportunity to make peace and deal with core strategic threats as it relates to israel. and i don't believe that this is any different. now, we can't want it-- as i've said-- more than the parties. but i will also... let me go to the core issue really of what you're dancing around. and that is, you know, the prime minister, i don't think there's another world leader that has had as much private time with
this president as prime minister netanyahu. he's had two private meetings, one lasted about two hours, another lasted about an hour fifteen minutes. no other world leaders had that much private time with the president working through the set of issues. i think that's a testament to... >> rose: define the relationship today between those two leaders. just define it. >> it's a very good relationship. >> rose: cordial? constructive? they believe they can trust each other and they think today they can achieve the goals they want? >> it's a constructive, honest relationship among not only friends but two people who also have responsibilities to their respective countries. total honest, very constructive working relationship. >> rose: and how important is a coordinated policy on iran as a factor in the relationship? >> well, i mean, it's a... iran, as israel describes, is an existential threat for them. the united states has seen iran's desire to get a nuclear
weapon as its own sense of threat, which is also why it's organized the p-5 plus one:. >> rose: you've now been in this job 14 months. why did barack obama want you? >> i think i'm the fundamental core. he had a robust legislative agenda and knew i had been on both sides of pennsylvania avenue. second, he knew i was going to always have his back as his chief of staff. and that i will go go through walls to help get what the president wants done. and somebody that had been in politics as both a member of congress but also been in the white house and know it is kind of rhythm of the white house. and fundamentally that i was going to be loyal to him and give imunvarnished assessment of what i think the tradeoffs and the equities that you're constantly waiting. remember, in the white house, charlie, as i always describe it there are only two types of decisions: bad and worse;
immediate and emergency. and that's the grid they're on. >> rose: you had a reputation as a very partisan congressional figure. and you also deserve enormous amount of credit for the democrats winning the house as nancy pelosi would be the first to say. two, the president came to washington talking about change and bipartisanship and yet he chooses the most partisan figure as the guy he wants to back him up as his... >> i would light slightly... >> rose: and therefore... no, go ahead. >> well, since you remember the family i interrupted you. finish your question, charlie. >> rose: people may not get that reference. >> it's okay. my mother adopted me years ago. i know people think because i won the house i'm partisan. as you know, you've had... you can talk to senator lindsey graham, senator collins, other republican members of the house who i work well with. i'm a fierce fighter for what i believe in. i'm a fierce fighter when the president lays out his agenda to
get his agenda done. that doesn't mean i'm partisan. it means i'm very loyal to the set of ideas. i've worked putting bipartisan coalitions together when i was in the white house under president clinton, when i was in congress i did that. and also for president obama. remember, in the... when we passed the recovery act, by way of example, i was the person in the room with a couple... sitting negotiating with the three republicans who sign on. having worked through nafta for president clinton, or welfare reform. did that in a bipartisan fashion. the real... the president's view is he still has an open hand to find bipartisanship. i will say what's happened-- which is different this time around than other times-- is there has been an absolute determination as reported by the "new york times" when they did a big story on senator mcconnell that even before the president was sworn in that they were going to try to oppose his policies to slow him down. not about china alter, not about
trying to improve, not about trying to work, with but to oppose, to slow down because since the democrats were in control of the house and senate, if points were put on the board, that came to their detriment. now... >> rose: do you think that's their point of view today? that they are not interested in terms of achievement, they're interested in stopping this president? >> i think that that's part of their leadership is viewing it that way. i think individuals in the house and senate don't but there's a... what's the word i'm looking? a premium for party loyalty to that. i give credit to individual senators-- i don't want to put them jeopardy-- but individual senators from like senator snowe senator collins, senator graham, with others in the house who want to individually... individual items, doesn't mean across the board, want to reach bipartisan agreement. part of what happens in the media is accentuating those fights so polarization in attempt as well as among party activists, reaching compromise
is hard. you should know my job and the job of the people in the white house is to work hard to seek the president's objectives. some of those... a lot of those are in a bipartisan fashion. the door is always open. i'm... just yesterday, without mentioning names, i was talking to a republican senator about a different policy. they all have my phone number, have my e-mail and we talk on a regular basis. >> rose: is bipartisanship alive then? >> it has its good days and bad days. but i think rather than root for... >> rose: but it's not dead, then? >> no, of course, it's not dead. you have to raise the challenge. you have to come over a party that... a base of a party that's opposing candidates, incumbent senators who have tried to achieve bipartisanship. so there's a lot of political courage that goes for that. now, the president's own view is bipartisanship is good, it doesn't trump principle but you try to strike deals. as i went through on the health care bill-- and i'll go through other sectors of legislation-- there's a lot of republican ideals in the bill that have passed.
the republicans will choose whether they'll support those with their vote, but those ideas are in the body of the language of the legislation. >> rose: let me read you a quote from peter baker. "in this season of discontent for obama, emanuel has emerged as the easy and most popular target from missiles flung at the white house from all sides. conservatives see him as the chief architect of obama's big government program and liberals who consider him an accommodationist who undermines the agenda. the criticism has been searing and conflicting. he pushed for far too much, he didn't push far enough. the cross fire underscores his contradictions. how can emanuel be so intensely partisan without being all that liberal and so relentlessly pragmatic without being bipartisan? just as salient these days, how can he be so independent-minded and still remain loyal to a team operation?" >> man's inhumanity to man. (laughter) the kids, when i come home and
you see some movie the kids go "what's it about?" i go "it's about man's inhumanity to man." what do you want know do with that? i don't know. >> rose: it pretty much describes the situation, doesn't it? you're getting it from all sides at the same time, whether it's the left or the right. it's a little bit like if you look... >> i think what peter... at least the way i read that is he does show that you can be... how is it that you're the fiercely partisan guy that's a theorist of big government yet attacked by liberals of the left... >> rose: accommodationist? >> always trying to seek bipartisanship and is also s also a new democrat. >> rose: right. >> you know... >> rose: how long do you think you'll be in this job? >> as long as the president wants me. >> rose: really. is the president wants you for four years, eight years, you're there. >> well, i was being generous there a minute ago. >> rose: (laughs) is there any other job in government you'd like to have? >> in government? >> rose: in government. >> yeah. >> rose: what? >> it's mo no no secret...
>> rose: you want to be speaker of the house. >> well, that's over. no, i would one day... first of all, let me say it this way, i hope mayor daly seeks reelection. i will work and support him if he seeks reelection. but if mayor daley doesn't one day i would like to one for mayor as city of chicago. that's always been an aspiration of mine even when i was in the house of representatives. >> rose: mayor of chicago? >> yes. the one thing if you ask me what i mess, i miss the contact with constituents. i'm... i miss being for the running for... when you were running for office that touch with people. if as you know, i developed this thing called congress on your corner where i used to stand in the grocery stores with a table of constituent circlings and just greet people. and you learn a lot. one of the best pieces of legislation i introduced was the elder justice act. it came from a lady who talked to me at a grocery store about what happened to her father at a nursing home and i found out the
law on the books, there was no real federal crime that dealt with seniors. not all stories are like that. i helped a small business get a loan that expanded a tubing company. i miss that. i love what i'm doing. i find it very passionate because i work for a great president with a breadth of issues. if you're in public policy at a period of time in history that's important, one day i'll go back to elected office having enjoyed it. i enjoyed that process. >> rose: so rather than being a member of cabinet, you'd more likely want to go to elective office? >> i was thinking of at that term... i mean, right now i'm a chief of staff, i'm in the cabinet. the president put the chief of staff in the cabinet. but one day i want to run again for office and if i get a... again, i want to repeat because the mayor is a dear friend of mine and i support him. >> rose: (laughs) yes. >> i hope he seeks reelection. you know, charlie. he's done a fabulous job and one day i would like to. but if he doesn't at some point
that will be something i'll do. >> rose: when might with have a supreme court nominee? >> i think it's important that... the presidents nominated sonia sotomayor at the end of may, towards that period of time and the senate confirmed her the first week in august. so that's kind of your time frame. the president within the time frame, we think we can get earlier than that but without a doubt by then we'll have a nominee to the supreme court. >> rose: do you expect because of the nature of politics in april of 2010 that it's going to be a huge, huge battle in the senate confirmation? >> i think it will be a huge, huge battle. that's up to whether people think that that's what they have to do. i think president will obviously appoint a president he thinks is appropriate and right for the supreme court as he laid out the
criteria in the justice stevens model. i think if people took a fresh look at that, i don't think it has to be that type of battle but we may be in a system and in a time in which we have that type of battle. >> rose: and he may be looking for somebody who's not had judicial experience? >> or additional experience beyond judicial. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: pleasure. rahm emanuel, chief of staff to president obama for the hour. thank you for joining us. see you next time.